It’s time to end the LIV golf war against the Saudi-funded PGA

With the PGA Tour back on track after the Christmas break and new Saudi Arabia contender LIVE Golf supporting the series as it kicks off its 2023 schedule on February 24, you’d think peace had broken out in the world of professional golf.

Think again. Indeed, civil war in golf threatens to flare up.

In the courts, LIV Golf is now seeking to determine whether the PGA Tour was responsible for funding anti-Saudi protests organized outside LIV golf events last year by groups such as 9/11 Justice and 9/11 Families United, including one at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Back to back, the PGA Tour has claimed that LIV Golf, through a foreign company, made a case about these protests – which, given Saudi Arabia’s record with people objecting, is troubling to say the least.

Currently, organizers of the Augusta Masters have also extended invitations to this year’s competition to up to 16 current LIV golfers, including six former Masters champions, despite their indefinite suspension from the PGA Tour to enter a competitive golf tour. why? Because gentlemen are a law unto themselves and they can invite whoever they want.

PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan is dealing with LIV Golf’s deep pockets and also the loss of major tour players after the new premiere.
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LIV Golf fell like a brick through a window in the sport in 2021 when a group of top players joined the promise of unimaginable profits and left the PGA Tour to catch up.

He is faced by the former world no. 1 golfer Greg Norman, and is owned by the Saudi Private Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund with nearly $700 billion in assets and headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the man the CIA allegedly helped kill. Al-Wahshi is attacked by dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to take on sports like golf to diversify his country’s investments while offering the world a more palatable version of Saudi Arabia.
AP

Is that surprising? Amnesty International has described Saudi Arabia’s human rights record as “poor”.

This week, professional golfer Harry Higgs told Golfweek that LIV Golf somehow catered to the PGA Tour because they “took all the holes.” They took all the bad guys.” But as the 31-year-old also pointed out, it’s also a real problem on the PGA Tour because “they’ve taken some of our best players as well.”

This is correct.

Despite the prince's lofty ambitions, he is still directly linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi intelligence officers in Istanbul.
Despite the prince’s lofty ambitions, he is still directly linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi intelligence officers in Istanbul.
AFP/Getty Images

As the PGA Tour and its commissioner, Jay Monahan, work to maintain the moral high ground, their product is beginning to lose its luster — especially now that key players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepke, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are all out on bail. .

There’s no doubt the PGA Tour has some notable talent, including Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Scotty Scheffler and the man leading the charge against Golf Live, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. But apart from the occasional bystander caught on camera or a golf club tossed aside, there aren’t exactly “bad guys” on the PGA Tour, which in turn isn’t exactly the case for the sport’s most compelling spectacle does not care.

Saudi participation in LIV Golf prompted families affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to protest at tourist spots, including the Trump National Golf Club, last July.
Saudi participation in LIV Golf prompted families affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to protest at tourist spots, including the Trump National Golf Club, last July.
AFP via Getty Images

It doesn’t help that Tiger Woods — perhaps the only golfer who can carry the entire sport and who turned down a nearly $1 billion offer to join LIV — remains absent from the PGA Tour in 2021 after serious leg injuries .

On the other hand, you have LIV Golf, an organization whose limitless budget means they can buy just about any player they want just by waving a big enough check under their noses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a golf legend like Phil Mickelson signed for $200 million, or a lesser-known name like, say, Pat Perez – there’s enough cash to attract any player except Woods and McIlroy.

The Perez case is interesting. When the 46-year-old professional signed with LIV last June, he was one of the few players who outright said he was doing it for the money, nothing more, nothing less.

Phil Mickelson signed with LIV Golf for $200 million;  These huge payouts are the main reason why LIV has proven such a challenge for the PGA.
Phil Mickelson signed with LIV Golf for $200 million; These huge payouts are the main reason why LIV has proven such a challenge for the PGA.
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In his senior season, the highest he finished in any LIV event was 16th, but he still walked away with more than $8 million in prize money. Add that to his $10 million signing bonus, and he earned almost as much of it in just six months as he did in a 25-year, 515 PGA Tour event.

Talk to him about human rights abuses while he combs a mullet and counts his money.

Whatever you think of LIV Golf, its players or its ownership, its impact has been seismic. It even prompted the PGA Tour to enact the kinds of compensation reforms that might have long prevented these high-profile departures.

Pat Perez signed with LIV last summer and has since earned more in a matter of months than he did in his entire 25-year PGA career.  No wonder LIV attracts talent.
Pat Perez signed with LIV last summer and has since earned more in a matter of months than he did in his entire 25-year PGA career. No wonder LIV attracts talent.
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Check out the recent Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii. In 2022, before LIV, Australia’s Cameron Smith (now an LIV golfer) received $1.4 million for the win. Last weekend, when Spaniard John Ramm won, he took home $2.7 million.

If Qatar’s controversial FIFA World Cup has taught us anything, it’s that ultimately the vast majority of sports fans and players have little interest in where the event takes place or where the money comes from.

The English football team Newcastle United is an example. When the Saudi-backed Public Investment Fund bought the club in October 2021, there was outrage in the wider game over the deal. Fast forward just over a year and the team has gone from perennial contenders to title contenders.

The absence of Tiger Woods (here with Dustin Johnson) from the course following a car accident in 2021 has left professional golfers lacking much-needed star power.  LIV Golf acquired Woods for $1 billion, but he turned them down.
The absence of Tiger Woods (here with Dustin Johnson) from the course following a car accident in 2021 has left professional golfers lacking much-needed star power. LIV Golf acquired Woods for $1 billion, but he turned them down.
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And what about the supporters? They couldn’t be happier. Plus, makeup has more fingers than you can imagine.

Have you ever flown in a Boeing? Buy tickets through Live Nation or play Electronic Arts computer games? use facebook? They are all partially owned by the Public Investment Fund and yet no one bats an eyelid.

So PIF is rumored to have cashed in again this week and acquired World Wrestling Entertainment from Vince McMahon for $6.5 billion.

And although the US government rightly condemned Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, this did not stop them from striking. A deal to sell Patriot missiles to Riyadh at a value of 3 billion dollars in August last year or.

It just doesn’t make sense for this golf tussle to continue, not least because nobody talks about golf anymore. No sport is clean, and no game is flawless. It’s time for Jay and Greg, golfers and golfers – LIV and PGA – to gather around a table and end this civil war once and for all.

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